Yoga can be a magnet for you to attract the things you dream of. Unfortunately, it is not a fairy dust you can sprinkle on your mat. The shifts do not come overnight. And, you cannot simply mutter a Sanskrit mantra for your hopes to manifest. It is a journey of work, of love, and of intense self-reflection. It takes tapas - the yogic ethical concept of discipline and austerity.
For many people, yoga is nothing more than a fancy workout, or maybe a few calm moments of de-stressing or elaborate stretching. However, yoga is much more. It is a science, a wellness system, a lifestyle, a philosophy, and more than anything a path to clarity and joy. The beauty of yoga is that is flexible to your life and needs. There is an infinite number of ways to practice as there is to interpret the meaning of the word.
The word yoga is derived from a word meaning to yoke or to unite. One encompassing way to conceptualize this is to think of uniting the self with all - to connect with the source of all possibilities. The true magic of yoga can happen with the sincere realization of the concept "Namaste" - the light in me recognizes and honors the light within you."
When this is realized, there is a great surrender - defenses drop - prejudices fall. All things become you, and you become all things. Of course, this too is no sudden switch but is learned slowly over time - the concept, like yoga, is endless and ever-deepening.
In the beginning, yoga with all the Sanskrit words and postures alluded me. The intricate curves of the ancient writing looked more elusive than Korean. Sitting upright in a cross-legged position was physical torture, and holding tree pose for more than five seconds seemed an impossible feat. Still, there was still a deep resonance within me. As I continued to practice and study yoga, I sensed a truth that is now growing and intertwining with everything in my life on and off the mat.
Similar to things you may have read in books like The Secret or in articles about the law of attraction, once you begin this path of yoga –or your own effort to seek wellness and clarity- things in life effortlessly fall into place. There is work and, of course, some difficulties as you are faced with the task of clearing out the muck. Once the path clears, it is still your choice to follow it, to listen, and to take the openings or not. If you do choose to step forward it is rewarding.
Here are some instances of the way yoga has brought opportunities into my life. Just a month before graduating from yoga teacher training, a job fell into my lap. A fellow yoga school graduate sent out an email asking for people to take over her classes. Responding to the late, I figured it was a long shot, but, I got the job, and beyond that, it came with a teaching mentor and the opportunity to lead a teens’ class. Both perks were things I had been silently dreaming of.
Beyond the yoga front - other jobs have seemingly fallen into my lap. I wanted a way out of my dead-end job so that I could nanny and teach yoga. Out of the blue, the sister of a family I had babysat for once a year before, called me and asked me to take care of her daughter a couple of times a week. I found out that she had been training to teach Bikram yoga before becoming pregnant. Our friendship grew and we continue to find similarities in each other. I love the little girl, and it turned into a wonderful job. Through her, I have been put in touch with four other families that I now work with. The families I work for on a regular basis all needed me on opposing days that work together in perfect synchronicity.
Here, a deeper meaning of the word yoga comes to fruition. Everything becomes untangled and one can see how each strand connects seamlessly. It doesn’t matter if you understand the words and concepts of yoga consciously or can perfectly do a headstand or can practice patience in every situation – this is a journey, and what matters only is that you begin.
By Chelsea Cunningham
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